We have been desperately waiting for the return of the football so much that anything that happened over the weekend was going to be labelled 'amazing'. Oh look, Arsenal trying to walk the ball into the back of the net again - that's amazing. Wow, Liverpool looking as threatening as a sleepy kitten – that's incredible. And so on and so forth.
Thankfully, we did not need to lie to ourselves and pretend it was amazing because it genuinely was amazing. Two 5-0 thumpings. Liverpool beaten 3-0 and Manchester City being made to sweat by new boys Southampton. Here is a look at some of the bigger-priced bets that were backed with Paddy Power during a remarkable start to the Premier League season.
Swansea to beat QPR 5-0 (Live betting)
New coach, key players sold and uncertainty in the ranks. Swansea were supposed to be classic candidates for 'difficult second season' syndrome, but there was little evidence of that as they tore into QPR at Loftus Road. The home side actually started quite well. For a whole seven minutes.
Thereafter, it was a nightmare as Rangers defended like statues and Rob Green looked about as secure as he did against the United States at the 2010 World Cup.
Some people saw the writing on the wall and took the 500/1 (501.0) on offer in running with Paddy Power for the Swans to trounce their hosts 5-0.
There was also some top-quality punting in other markets as Swansea to win by four or more goals was backed at 100/1 (101.0). Someone was also quite impressed by Michu in the past because they got on the new Swans' recruit to score two or more goals on his debut at a less spectacular, but still commendable odds of 30/1 (31.0).
Zoltan Gera to score first and West Brom to win 3-0
'This time around it is going to be different'. The Liverpool fans' optimistic opening day of the season mantra for the last 20 odd years was rather short-lived as Brendan Rodgers' first league game in charge of the Reds ended in defeat.
In fairness, the Reds started quite well, but from the moment Zoltan Gera reminded everyone that he still has plenty to offer with a brilliant strike into the top left-hand corner of Pepe Reina's goal, it was the same old story.
The Baggies took advantage of some generous defending and refereeing to run out 3-0 winners, landing one lucky punter a 400/1 (401.0) scorecast bet. Nice way to start the season.
The straightforward correct score bet of West Brom 3-0 wasn't too shabby either, paying 70/1 (71.0), while somebody was cheering Shane Long's limp penalty as it meant the West Brom to miss a penalty bet came in at nice odds of 22/1 (23.0).
Half Time/Full Time Correct Score
Manchester City 1-0 Half Time – Manchester City 3-2 Full Time
If Manchester City took the lead, you got the feeling things could get a lot worse for Southampton.
Despite a dreadful penalty from David Silva, the hosts did go ahead as Carlos Tevez took the opportunity to fire past Kelvin Davies and show the world another t-shirt.
Southampton did not roll over and have their bellies tickled, though, and goals from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis put them in the lead with 20 minutes to play.
City again showed they have got plenty of fighting spirit, with goals from Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri guiding them to a win that paid handsome dividends for one visionary punter who called it at 200/1 (201.0).
Fulham to beat Norwich 5-0
Fulham looked to be in disarray heading into their season opener. Last season's main man, Clint Dempsey had thrown his toys out of the pram and looks like he will never play for the club again. Which was exactly the outcome he wanted.
There was a theory that without the mild-mannered assassin, Chris Hughton would be able to work his magic on Norwich, but the Cottagers were 2-0 up by half-time and put several cherries on top with three second-half goals.
Possibly because people saw him as part of the Ireland team at Euro 2012, no-one backed Damien Duff to be part of the scorecast, but the straightforward Correct Score bet paid pretty well and was backed at 100/1 (101.0) before kick off.
Ivanovic to score first and Chelsea to win 2-0
Branislav Ivanovic has a pretty good goalscoring record for Chelsea. He has scored 14 times during his spell at the Bridge which, in the obligatory and not especially relevant comparison with Fernando Torres, is one more than the Spanish striker.
The Blues splashed the cash over the summer on some expensive new attacking threats, but it was the Serbian stalwart who got the ball rolling in what turned out to be a straightforward win for John Terry's Roberto Di Matteo's side. He was 25/1 (26.0) to score first, but throwing him in the scorecast was especially lucrative, bumping up the winnings substantially. Congratulations if you managed to spot that one.
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